WHY SHOULD I READ THIS GUIDANCE?
If you handle, manufacture, use, or store any of the toxic and flammable substances
listed in Appendix A above the specified threshold quantities in a process, you are
required to develop and implement a risk management program rule issued by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This rule, “Chemical Accident
Prevention Provisions” (part 68 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR)), applies to a wide variety of facilities that handle, manufacture, store, or use
toxic substances, including chlorine and ammonia and highly flammable substances
such as propane; flammable substances used solely as fuels are not covered. This
document provides guidance for chemical distributors on how to determine if you are
subject to part 68 and how to comply with part 68. If you are subject to part 68, you
must be in compliance no later than June 21, 1999, or the date on which you first
have more than a threshold quantity in a process, whichever is later.
The goal of part 68 — the risk management program — is to prevent accidental
releases of substances that can cause serious harm to the public and the environment
from short-term exposures and to mitigate the severity of releases that do occur. The
1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act (CAA) require EPA to issue a rule
specifying the type of actions to be taken by facilities (referred to in the law as
stationary sources) to prevent accidental releases of such hazardous chemicals into
the atmosphere and reduce their potential impact on the public and the environment.
Part 68 is that rule.
In general, part 68 requires that:
g Covered facilities must develop and implement a risk management program
and maintain documentation of the program at the site. The risk
management program will include an analysis of the potential offsite
consequences of an accidental release, a five-year accident history, a release
prevention program, and an emergency response program.
g Covered facilities also must develop and submit a risk management plan
(RMP), which includes registration information, to EPA no later than June
21, 1999, or the date on which the facility first has more than a threshold
quantity in a process, whichever is later. The RMP provides a summary of
the risk management program. The RMP will be available to federal, state,
and local government agencies and the public.
g Covered facilities also must continue to implement the risk management
program and update their RMPs periodically or when processes change, as
required by the rule.
The phrase "risk management program" refers to all of the requirements of part 68,
which must be implemented on an on-going basis. The phrase "risk management
plan (RMP)" refers to the document summarizing the risk management program that
you must submit to EPA.
May 8, 2000
HOW DO I USE THIS DOCUMENT?
This document is a technical guidance designed for owners and operators of sources
covered by part 68. It will help you to:
g Determine if you are covered by the rule;
g Determine what level of requirements is applicable to your covered
g Understand what specific risk management program activities must be
g Select a strategy for implementing a risk management program, based on
your current state of compliance with other government rules and industry
standards and the potential offsite impact of releases from your process(es);
g Understand the reporting, documentation, and risk communication
components of the rule.
This document provides guidance and reference materials to help you comply with
EPA's risk management program regulations. Although it contains a considerable
amount of information, you probably do not need to read much of this material
before you start developing your risk management program. Instead, you should
view this guidance as a reference document; when you are unsure about what a
requirement means, you can turn to the appropriate section to obtain guidance.
However, you should start by reading the following section. This document does not
provide guidance on any other rule or part of the CAA.
This guidance applies to 40 CFR part 68. You should check with your state government to determine
if the state has its own accidental release prevention rules or has obtained delegation from EPA to
implement and enforce part 68 in your state. State rules may be more stringent that EPA’s rules.
They may cover more substances or cover the same substances at lower thresholds. They may also
impose additional requirements. For example, California’s state program requires a seismic study.
See Chapter 10 for information on state implementation of part 68. Unless your state has been
granted delegation, you must comply with part 68 as described in this document even if your state has
different rules under state law.
WHAT DO I DO FIRST?
Before developing a risk management program, you should do five things:
(1) Determine which, if any, of your processes are covered by this program
January 26, 1999
Only sources with a threshold quantity of a regulated substance (see
Appendix A) in a “process” need to comply with part 68. “Process” is
defined by the rule in § 68.3 and does not necessarily correspond with an
engineering concept of process. The requirements apply only to covered
processes. process need to comply with part 68. See Chapter 1 for more
information on how to define your processes and determine if they are
subject to the rule.
(2) Determine the appropriate program level for each covered process
Depending on the specific characteristics of a covered process and the
results of the offsite consequence analysis for that process, it may be subject
to one of three different sets of requirements (called program levels). See
Chapter 2 for more information.
(3) Determine EPA's requirements for the facility and each covered process
Certain requirements apply to the facility as a whole, while others are
process-specific. See Chapter 2 for more information.
(4) Assess your operations to identify current risk management activities
Because you probably conduct some risk management activities already
(e.g., employee training, equipment maintenance, and emergency planning),
you should review your current operations to determine the extent to which
they meet the provisions of this rule. EPA does not expect you to redo these
activities if they already meet the rule's requirements. See Chapters 5 to 8
individually for guidance on how to tell if your existing practices can meet
those required by EPA.
(5) Review the regulations and this guidance to develop a strategy for
conducting the additional actions you need to take for each covered
process. Discuss the requirements with management and staff.
The risk management program takes an integrated approach to assessing and
managing risks and will involve most of the operations of covered processes.
Early involvement of both management and staff will help develop an
Finally, keep in mind that many of these requirements are performance-based; that is,
EPA is not specifying how often you must inspect storage tanks, only that you do so
in a manner that minimizes the risk of a release. This allows you to tailor your
program to fit the particular conditions at your facility. The degree of complexity
required in a risk management program will depend on the complexity of the facility.
For example, the operating procedures for a chemical distributor are likely to be
relatively brief, while those for a chemical manufacturer will be extensive.
Similarly, the length of training necessary to educate employees on such procedures
would be proportional to the complexity of your operating procedures. And while a
facility with complex processes may benefit from a computerized maintenance
January 26, 1999
tracking system, a small facility with a simpler process may be able to track
maintenance activities using a logbook.
There is no one "right" way to develop and implement a risk management program.
Even for the same rule elements, your program will be different from everyone else's
program (even those in the same industry) because it will be designed for your
specific situation and hazards — it will reflect whether your facility is near the
public and sensitive environmental areas, the specific equipment you have installed,
the managerial decisions that you have made previously, and other relevant factors.
WHERE DO I GO FOR MORE INFORMATION?
EPA’s risk management program requirements may be found in Part 68 of Volume
40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The relevant sections were published in the
Federal Register on January 31, 1994 (59 FR 4478) and June 20, 1996 (61 FR
31667). EPA has amended the rules several times. A consolidated copy of these
regulations, including amendments through June 30, 1999, is available in Appendix
A. On March 13, 2000, EPA finalized regulations to implement new rules excluding
flammable substances when used as fuels or held for sale as fuel by retailers (65 FR
13,243); a copy of this final rule is also available in Appendix A.
EPA has worked with industry and local, state, and federal government agencies to
assist sources in complying with these requirements. For more information, refer to
Appendix C (Technical Assistance). Your local emergency planning committee
(LEPC) also can be a valuable resource and can help you discuss issues with the
Finally, if you have access to the Internet, EPA has made copies of the rules, fact
sheets, and other related materials available (as described below) at the home page of
EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office
(http://www.epa.gov/ceppo/). Please check the site regularly as additional materials
May 8, 2000
WHAT IS A LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE?
Local emergency planning committees (LEPCs) were formed under the Federal Emergency Planning
and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) in 1986. The committees are designed to serve as a
community forum for issues relating to preparedness for emergencies involving hazardous
substances. They consist of representatives from local government, local industry, transportation
groups, health and medical organizations, community groups, and the media. LEPCs:
g Collect information from facilities on hazardous substances that pose a risk to the
g Develop a contingency plan for the community based on this information; and
g Make information on hazardous substances available to the general public.
Contact the mayor's office or the county emergency management office for more information on your
May 8, 2000
IF YOU ARE NEW TO REGULATIONS
We have tried to make this document as clear and readable as possible, but if you have rarely dealt
with regulations before, some of the language may seem initially odd and confusing. All regulations
have their own vocabulary. A few words and phrases have very specific meanings within the
regulation. Some of these are unusual, which is to say they are not used in everyday language.
Others are defined by the rule in ways that vary to some degree from their everyday meaning. The
following are the major regulatory terms used in this document and a brief introduction to their
meaning within the context of part 68. They are defined in § 68.3 of the rule.
“Stationary source” basically means facility. The CAA and, thus Part 68 use the term “stationary
source” and we explain it in Chapter 1. Generally, we use “facility” in its place in this document.
“Process” is given a broad meaning in this rule and document. Most people think of a process as the
mixing or reacting of chemicals. Its meaning under this rule is much broader. It basically means any
equipment, including storage vessels, and activities, such as loading, that involve a regulated
substance and could lead to an accidental release. Chapter 1 discusses the definition of process
under this rule in detail.
“Regulated substance” means one of the 140 chemicals listed in part 68.
“Threshold quantity” means the quantity, in pounds, of a regulated substance which, if exceeded,
triggers coverage by this rule. Each regulated substance has its own threshold quantity. If you have
more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance in a process, you must comply with the rule.
Chapter 1 explains how to determine whether you have a threshold quantity.
“Vessel” means any container, from a single drum or pipe to a large storage tank or sphere.
“Public receptor” generally means any place where people live, work, or gather, with the exception
of roads. Buildings, such as houses, shops, office buildings, industrial facilities, the areas
surrounding buildings where people are likely to be present, such as yards and parking lots, and
recreational areas, such as parks, sports arenas, rivers, lakes, beaches, are considered public
receptors. Chapter 2 discusses public receptors.
“Environmental receptor” means a limited number of natural areas that are officially designated by
the state or federal government. Chapter 2 discusses this definition.
May 8, 2000